Post-ISE post-surrealism. Or something.
I’m an engineer, primarily, but I do like to immerse myself in culture too, when I can. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve visited museums here in Amsterdam in the past. So this year was the turn of the Stedelijk, the biggest museum of ‘art’ in the city (please note the use of inverted commas – you’ll see why if you stick with me!)
Naively, I thought that the whole point of an art gallery was that you could sit down and ruminate. I had to get through two galleries to find my first bench. And this one doesn’t face the work of a Dutch master, or even another grotty Van Gogh. No, I’m facing a netted window. Or maybe that is, in some way, art, and I’m missing the point. I’ve missed a lot of points today. Where most people seem to be staring smugly at paintings, rubbing their chins knowingly, I stand next to them squinting to find some small clue that will help me decipher the mystery of this whole art appreciation thing. Right now I’m looking at a tilted square of white canvas with two intersecting black lines. OK. So it isn’t pretty or decoractive, it doesn’t display any technical skill, or tell a story. If it needs a blu-tacked notice to explain its purpose, then is it still art? Discuss …
One good thing has come to me today. I’d almost forgotten the technique of spatter painting. I think we’re in a post-spatterism period, where this expressionist form of abstract art is no longer taught to our children. The joy that Asger Jorn must have had flicking paint across the canvas before completing the effect by dragging a thick brush caked in black paint across it has been denied to a whole generation of kids. I think I might reinvent it along with the Situationalist idea of folded-in-half-butterflies.
By now the other gawpers have cottoned on to the fact that I’m slagging off this art crap (maybe the sniggering and furious scribbling are giving it away!). There’s an old guy in a red jumper un-selfconsciously staring at my pad, as I write exactly this down. Oh, he’s gone!
I love the descriptions of the artworks, though. Much more than the art itself. This one here ‘explores and inverts the use of colour by his post-realism heroes’. It’s a few green fluorescent tubes stuck on a wall. Another artist has been making statements about the anthropology and associations of everyday objects by placing 2 kitchen bins and 3 lava lamps on a shelf. Genius.
Back to real work and real genius creation for me, then. I don’t think anyone will write a book about me, or put my efforts in a museum. Such a shame.